Man’s Best Friend Gives Veterans a New “Leash” on Life

June is PTSD Awareness Month, and one organization is enlisting the help of caring canines to help American veterans heal and thrive when they come back home.

You’ve probably heard the saying that dogs are ‘man’s best friend.’ But for Army veteran Benjamin Stepp, his golden retriever Arleigh is so much more. Stepp did two tours in Iraq, sustaining a brain injury and injuries to his ankle, legs, and lower back. Every day, Stepp lives with continuous pain, cognitive struggles, and PTSD. And yet he still managed to graduate from the University of Mississippi and become a Nationally Certified Counselor.

K9s for Warriors

K9s for Warriors was founded in March of 2011 with the goal of changing the lives of both US veterans and rescued dogs. The dogs and their vets are each given a new lease on life when they graduate the training program.

As of May 2017, over 300 vets have been paired with rescued dogs. According to the K9s for Warriors website, the dogs and their vets learn tools to help deal with PTSD and other debilitating conditions with the goal of empowering each vet to “return to civilian life with dignity and independence.” Many program graduates go on to reunite with their families or pursue higher education. Some are eventually able to significantly reduce their medications.

Thanks to Arleigh, Benjamin Stepp was able to graduate from college, and will go on to help other veterans as a counselor.

K9s for Warriors serves any US veterans who became disabled while serving in the military after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The program is 100% free for the veterans, who are flown to Camp K9 in Ponte Vedra, Florida where they are paired with a dog and begin their training. The cost to place a service dog with a veteran costs around $27,000. The popular program has a waiting list that currently stretches to about two years. If you would like to learn more about K9s for Warriors or make a donation, visit their website at

Next Article
  • New Kindness Curriculum is Making Waves in University of Wisconsin Study

    The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds has been busy this year. They’ve added one more project to the many studies they contribute to, and this one is aimed at teaching kindness to preschoolers. Called the “kindness curriculum,” the free program had children engaging in two 20-minute sessions...

    Read More
  • Eye-Witness Recounts Story of Incredible Whale Rescue

    Whale watching is a favorite pastime and a tourist attraction along nearly every coast in the world. But for enthusiasts traveling to the West Coast of the USA, the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State is a treasure trove for those looking to catch a glimpse some of the ocean’s most majestic creatures. Orcas, humpback whales,...

    Read More
  • Bus Driver Pauses Route to Help Stranded Schoolgirl Find Her Way

    Morning commutes can be drag. Whether you drive your own car, take the subway, or hop on a bus, the frequent delays and traffic jams can quickly turn a routine journey into a stop-and-go nightmare. Public transit workers are often put under incredible pressure to keep their routes on schedule to avoid disgruntled passengers. But...

    Read More
  • The Teen that’s Fighting Cyber Bullies One Hashtag at a Time

    Chase Marvil isn’t your typical millennial college student. While the sophomore at Delaware Technical Institute is a heavy consumer of social media, he’s also a force for positive change in the digital space. While he was still in high school, Chase set out to change the way that people...

    Read More
  • How One Parkour Athlete Changed the Lives of Street Kids in Manila

    Raven Cruz is serious about parkour. After just four short years of practicing the sport, he has already become a teacher at the Ninja Parkour Academy in Manila, Philippines and been recognized as a promising athlete in the parkour world. But now he’s earning recognition for another reason. One day, when Raven was training in...

    Read More
  • A Summer Camp That is Truly for Everyone

    Camp is one of the best parts of summer. There are summer camps that focus on everything from sports to theater to science and much more where kids can spend their days following their interests and making memories. But many times, kids with special needs are unable to attend summer camps because of their disabilities...

    Read More